My kids and I LOVE the Elephant Learning online math program! I am presently homeschooling the two youngest of my 7 children, a daughter age 7 and a son age 10. With nearly 20 years of homeschooling, I have dealt with my children's various degrees of academic ease or difficulty. I have tried numerous math programs and know there is rarely a "one size fits all" curriculum.
That being said, I am very pleased with Elephant Learning. I was looking for an exciting, engaging online program that would give us a break from rote repetition. I wanted something to accommodate both my daughter's fast paced but sometimes careless work style as well as my son's slow, tedious, and moderately dyslexic approach. Elephant Learning is accomplishing that! This program has just enough animation to be entertaining without being a video game.
There are several ways the students can personalize each session with avatars, themes, and voices. Students can work at their own pace and the program adjusts accordingly. It is suggested that students use the program a few times a week. My kids look forward to using the program every day and usually work until the program automatically times out at about 20 minutes. This setting can be adjusted as desired.
I love that the program is very conceptual. I believe this enables the kids to progress further faster because once they understand the concept, the thought process can be used to solve harder problems. There is no lengthy lesson to listen to or read. A question appears in word and sentence style at the top of the screen AND is asked out loud. Students are prompted to respond in a number of ways like clicking a correct answer, moving items on a number line, or putting items into groups.
What I like the most is that each new concept is presented in a variety of ways, allowing repetition of the concept but through different learning methods. For example, students may be asked to count multiple groups of three, next choose one third of a set of items, next move items on a number line that has tic marks in sets of three, and so on. After each question and answer, the program will congratulate the student on a correct answer or allow them to try again. Then the actual math problem appears briefly in number and symbol style.
Most of the time, my children are able to work entirely by themselves, even with new concepts and no lesson. Sometimes though, they may need a little more explanation of a new concept or a reminder to use a concept they have previously learned to answer harder questions. At any time, the parent/teacher can access a student's performance and detailed information in multiple areas of the curriculum. There are also periodic emails sent highlighting the student's accomplishments.
I did contact the program designers about a small glitch and they responded personally and immediately, solving the problem. As far as learning mental math and understanding math concepts, this program can be used as a stand alone curriculum but at some point, the students will probably need extra practice writing and aligning standardized math problems with numbers and symbols. Elephant Learning has met and exceeded my expectations! It is fun for my kids and they are excelling by leaps and bounds. According to the program's "elephant age" assessment, my slow, tedious, dyslexic son has progressed nearly 3 levels in about 2 months! I highly recommend Elephant Math!
PS. To get started, go to https://elephantlearning.com and click Apply Now.
Math anxiety — a fear of getting math concepts and problems wrong and the resulting avoidance of math because of that — is something I’ve seen many times over my life and not just in children. It’s just as prevalent in adults and, believe it or not, despite my PhD in math, I experienced math anxiety as a child, too. While some children allowed their math anxiety to grow into a lifelong avoidance of math, mine fueled my competitive spirit and led me to push ahead of my peers, learning advanced math concepts even when I wasn’t able to get into the advanced math classes my middle school offered.
It is never too late to understand math. At a young age, many of us had the experience of being told that “we are just not a numbers person.” Books have been written on this social phenomena, and half of all Americans report Math anxiety. As it turns out, mathematics is really about learning jargon, a jargon that is so fundamental to humanity that we consider it vocabulary.
At the end of the day, algebra comes down to these three steps: define, recognize and produce. No matter if your child is in middle school or a PhD math program, it’s all about defining (can you understand it?), recognizing (can you identify it?), and producing (can you use it to produce results or new research?). If you can help your child with these three aspects of algebra at home, they’ll be better set up for success in the classroom and the future.
Most students learn to multiply in school by memorizing their multiplication tables. There’s nothing wrong with memorizing multiplication tables, but a child must know what the multiplication tables mean. If they’re multiplying seven by six, they need to have that picture in the back of their head of six groups of seven or seven groups of six. If not, they don’t have a true understanding of what multiplication actually is and it won’t serve them later on in life.Take, for example, a child who knows that five times four is 20. She can solve the multiplication problem with ease.
In early elementary education, the first concepts that we work with are counting and comparisons — that is, quantity comparisons versus what's bigger and smaller. We might show a child an image of four objects and an image with 12 objects, and ask them to identify which has more or fewer. It's important for children to know the difference because it sets the stage for addition and subtraction.
Making math fun for your child within the confines of your everyday world is easy. Let’s say you’re walking down the sidewalk with your child and they say, “Oh, there’s a train.” That’s an opportunity for you to ask how many train cars they can see. How many engines are on the train? Even if it’s just their toys sitting out on the floor, you could ask them, “Can you give me three toy dogs right now?” Then your child has to identify what’s a dog, what’s not a dog and how many of them equal three.Take whatever your child can identify and formulate a math lesson that’s on their level.